Why is there ignorance towards men's mental health?
An individual's mental health is composed of their phycological, mental and social well-being and affects how they act and feel. Mental health is viewed differently by everyone, meaning every perspective is different. This makes it harder for those suffering to reach out for help as they can feel judged by others. Men are specifically affected by this due to the stigma surrounding how a man should act and feel.
Society has portrayed a man to have to be masculine which means they have to be strong, independent, and hard-wearing. This idea causes men to ignore and not act upon their mental health problems. Due to this men have less support offered by social group like family and friends and are left to face their issues alone which can sometimes see men turning to alcohol and drug use as a coping method. Unfortunately, this can lead to far worse coping methods with some men resulting to taking their own life as their only option. Data shows that males in the UK are 3.1x more likely to commit suicide than a woman as of 2020. No two mental health problems are the same, which can also cause men to not speak up and ask for help they need. It can cause them to fall in the trap of not validating their feelings as they may feel it's not as important or as server as other situations. Only 36% of NHS phycological therapies are with men willing to talk about their feelings. This is driving men to cope with their mental health issues and leading them to learning to living with them. Another issue is the lack of male mental health research, with women being more open about their feelings and symptoms their treatment is typical towards the mental difficulties they speak about. However, this isn't the case for men as they show more physical affects like headaches and back pain making it harder to identify especially when not many people have been made aware of these symptoms.
There has been an increase in influential males coming forward about their mental health problems. This is helping fight the stigma towards male mental health problems, which is beneficial as it shows society as a whole how it is normal for males to go through this, and these issues aren't limited to women. An example of a high-profile male who has chosen to speak out about his struggles with mental health is Zayn Malik. Zayn Malik is a previous member of the hit boy band one direction and is now and independent artist. Zayn suffered from anxiety and has opened up about how mentally he thought his anxiety had won and that he physically couldn't do it anymore this led to him cancelling multiple shows. He wanted to be open and honest with everyone about his anxiety and help people to understand it is nothing to be ashamed of. This led to hundreds of people getting in contact with Zayn and his team with people opening up about their personal struggles with anxiety and how societies views on make seeking help harder.
As a society we need to change our viewpoint on this topic and beat the stigma. We need to get rid of the idea that men can only be masculine and instead educate ourselves on how men also need help. One way this is being enforced is through Movember. Movember is annual event that takes place during November to raise awareness of men's mental health typically through not shaving facial hair for the entire month. The movement is about breaking the silence on men's mental health through using techniques that appeal to the male audience. Since 2003 they have had over 5 million people join their movement. Speaking up against mental health directly contrast the stigma surrounding it and can encourage others to do the same. Getting the help needed is the most important thing. Asking for help is very important but some people may struggle with this. We need to be aware of some changes that may be an implication of mental health problems like changes in mood, work performance and weight. If you notice these changes in someone close to you offering them someone to talk and open up to is the first step, you can take to getting them the help they need.